OBITUARY: Marjorie ‘Marge’ (Bongrater) Friesen

Marjorie “Marge” (Bontrager) Friesen, 86, died on April 24, 2021 at her Newton residence.

Marge was born on Dec, 12, 1934, at her great-grandmother’s house in Kalona, Iowa, the daughter of Christopher and Viola (Hershberger) Bontrager.

She attended elementary school in a one-room country school. She graduated from Iowa Mennonite High School in Kalona, Iowa. Following graduation Marge attended Hesston College in Hesston, Kansas.

On June 18, 1955, Marge was united in marriage to Marvin Zook, together they had three children, Steven, Monica and Rodney. The two later divorced.

On June 3, 1970, Marge married Elmer Friesen, becoming a second mother to his children, Cindi, David, Penny and his step-daughter, Teresa.

For 30 years Marge worked in the mobile home industry, and for the last 8 years before retirement was a representative for Royal Supply in Wichita.

Marge was a member of the VFW Auxiliary where she served as local president for two years, treasurer for 10 years, district president for one year, state president for one year and the National council for one year. Marge was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Marge enjoyed helping and spent years volunteering in the Payee Program and delivering for Meals on Wheels. She was also an avid golfer and enjoyed spending time with her family and friends.

Marge was a devoted member of St. Matthews Episcopal Church where she graciously served as a lector, an usher and was part of the Outreach Committee.

Marge is survived by her children, Steven Zook, Rodney (Debbie) Zook, David Friesen, Teresa Mischo, Cindi Woelk, and Penny (Andrew) Byers; grandchildren, Jennifer Baig (David Jabara), Ryan (Samantha) Cheatum, Carl (Kaycee) Cheatum, Kirk (Crystal) Kohlzer, Todd (Cheryl) Hindeman, Leasa (Jason) Camp, Zack (Isabelle) Mischo, Erin (Avery) Quintana, Deysia Johnson and Samuel Woelk; great-grandchildren, Calvin, Dane, Cailin and Alexis Mischo, Skyler and Mark Quintana, Jocelyn Baig, Noah Kohlzer, Logan and Charlie Cheatum, Wyatt Cheatum, Chloe Hindeman, Robert, Penelope and Annabelle Camp and Leslie Grace Davis; sister-in-law, Gladene Bontrager; son-in-laws, Keith Graber & Phillip Cheatum, and many nieces and nephews who are scattered but have kept touch over the years via Facebook.

Marge was preceded in death by her husband, Elmer Friesen; parents, Christopher and Viola Bontrager; sisters, Velma Yoder, Bette Messenger, Clara Belle Schlabaugh, Carolyn Bontrager and Helen Miller; brother, Marlyn Bontrager; daughter, Monica Graber; son-in-law, Tim Woelk and grandsons, Jason Baig and Jeremy Friesen.

Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Friday, April 30, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Newton with the Rev. Les Jackson presiding. Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton. Burial will be in the Greenwood Cemetery in Newton.

Memorials may be made to St. Matthews Operational Endowment Fund or St. Matthews Payee Program in care of Petersen Funeral Home.

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